Sheldon legislation to help farmers will become law

Law will remove an outdated prohibition on farmers’ use of public roads

Yesterday the Senate affirmed an amendment from the House to pass Senate Bill 5616, which will give farmers more freedom to move their equipment using public roads. Sen. Tim Sheldon introduced the legislation to spare farmers from having to purchase two sets of expensive equipment.

“I am very happy to see the House recognize the importance of this bill,” said Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “This is about farmers and their ability to stay in business. We should not have a law on the books that essentially forces farmers to purchase more than one piece of equipment if they don’t really need it.”

SB 5616 will let farmers operate equipment on public roads and highways in the “vicinity” of the farm, up to 25 miles away. The law requires farmers to display a decal on the back of the vehicle prominently so it is visible to law enforcement.

“This bill helps farmers without costing the state any money, which is the goal of the Majority Coalition Caucus—improving conditions for the private sector without adding to the state budget,” Sheldon said. “We recognize how difficult farming is as a profession. This is an example of how we can take a little pressure off farmers. Sometimes going to town for equipment repairs is a lot less costly than bringing a mechanic to the farm.”

The bill is now on its way to the governor’s desk.